Due to a technological snafu, we were unable to liveblog from the 5A State Championships, so in lieu of a live blog, here was my impressions of each finalist band:
Mauldin: Beautiful show concept, the contrast between the robotic uniforms of the band and the bluebird uniforms of the guard played well. The lit-up heart prop in the middle of the field was beautiful against the night sky. Their Firebird Suite company front was beautiful to say the least. This is an up and coming program and I’m excited to see how they do in the future.
River Bluff: First off, their galactic uniforms look absolutely glorious under the lights. They also look comfy as heck and I want one. They play with a very good relaxed fortissimo and I really loved the guardwork.
Boiling Springs: Great hits, great ballad. I’m a sucker for variations on standard uniforms. B-Springs always does cool stuff with their uniforms (in addition to having a pretty cool standard uniform too), and this year was no exception. The Chinese print across the chest plate looked awesome. I really enjoyed the Tai Chi in the preshow.
Dorman: Had some of the coolest soloists of the night. I liked how the show opened in almost a Cadets-esque fashion with the entirety of the Mellophone section playing on French Horns. The Rhapsody in Blue section had me dancing in my seat.
James F. Byrnes: They looked and sounded great. Definitely a show designed to be played under stadium lights, and when it is, their props pop even more. Those blokes have a LED-lit clock. The Cello soloist sounded absolutely wonderful, and the fact that she played her solo sitting on the side of a WORKING FOUNTAIN only helped the aesthetic further.
Summerville: They play so beautifully. I had never seen them live before, but what I’ve heard is true, they play with such a relaxed and full sound that there were points I couldn’t tell if I was listening to a high school marching band or a wind symphony. Their guard was absolutely wonderful.
Nation Ford: Under a misty Irmo night, their show about a descent into the underworld, and subsequent escape had an almost ethereal quality to it. Again, I’m a huge sucker for variations on the traditional uniform. This is quite possibly the coolest NaFo uniform we’ve seen in at least 4 years just off of its simplicity alone. The shimmering gray of the hood and the sash are complemented by the matte black of the main uniform. They play wonderfully too, theirs was the best interpretation of Shostakovich’s 10th I’ve seen all season.
Fort Mill: A very non-traditional show to say the least. Fort Mill instituted a one year uniform change to fit their show theme, Birds of Paradise Lost, and wear a jacket that looks like feathers and a feather mohawk. The visual general effect is strong in this show; these kids can move. Their ballad “The Lark Ascending,” which is guided by a violin solo, is a work of beauty.